November 30, 2012

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Seventh Annual Sticks for Soldiers Raises More Than $65,000

from staff reports

Event chairman Jim Tommins with Sticks for Soldiers keynote speaker, USMC Major John P. Cimina, a decorated Naval Flight Officer and Fairfield native.
© Sticks for Soliders

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — "Giving Thanks" is a tradition at Fairfield Ludlowe (Conn.) High School on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

This past Thanksgiving weekend, more than 700 high school boys' and girls' lacrosse players on 46 teams, and more than 400 adult volunteers, supporters, active military, alumni and spectators braved the cold and windy elements, and came together to raise more than $65,000 for two severely-wounded Connecticut soldiers at the seventh annual Sticks for Soldiers Thanksgiving Lacrosse Tournament.

Proceeds from this year's efforts, a new high, will support rehabilitation needs of the two honorees, US Army Captain Gregory Galeazzi of Glastonbury, Conn., and USMC Sgt. Greg Caron of Ellington, Conn. Both men were seriously wounded with bi-lateral leg amputations and other injuries sustained by separate IED explosions in Afghanistan in 2011.

Hosted by the Fairfield Ludlowe lacrosse team, teams from more than 35 Connecticut towns and cities, from Stamford to Hartford participated. The tournament and related activities raises funds and awareness for severely-wounded military personnel and has now raised over $225,000 since 2006.

Event chairman Jim Tommins emceed the mid-day ceremony and introduced honoree Sgt. Greg Caron, and the brothers and sister of Captain Galeazzi, who was unable to travel to Connecticut. A surprise of the day was the attendance of Brendan Marrocco, the 2010 honoree, and the war on terror's first surviving quadruple amputee. This was Brendan's first trip to the Fairfield tournament, and he was accompanied by his father Alex, and Kelly Marrocco.

"This tournament is a great way to use the sport we love, to thank, honor and raise money to support these men who have sacrificed for us" said Tommins. "We can't thank servicemen like Captain Galeazzi, Sgt. Caron, and Brendan enough."

The ceremony was capped by an inspirational keynote address given by USMC Major John P. Cimina, a decorated Naval Flight Officer and Fairfield native, who reminded the athletes that in life, as in sports and the military, "it is always the TEAM that accomplishes the Mission".

Donations are still being accepted for this year and may be sent payable to Sticks for Soldiers, Inc., PO Box 475, Fairfield, CT, 06824.

For more information about the charity, history and future events, please see www.sticksforsoldiers.org or contact Mr. Jim Tommins at jtommins@yahoo.com.

The 2013 tournament is planned for Saturday, Nov. 30, and the non-profit is interested in scaling this tournament concept to other host schools in regions around the country.


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